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Heat scout Tim Hardaway says if Miami signs Greg Oden, they’ll win a third straight title

Jul 29, 2013, 12:01 AM EDT

Greg Oden AP

It’s only July, but apparently it isn’t too early to make proclamations as to who might win next year’s NBA championship a little more than 11 months from now.

Greg Oden was reported to be impressive in his recent workout in front of personnel representing five NBA teams, so much so that an employee of one of the clubs represented is ready to begin getting sized for a ring should his team be the one that ends up landing Oden’s services.

From Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida:

The Heat remain committed to going after free-agent center Greg Oden, who is expected to make a decision soon. Miami coach Erik Spoelstra and vice president of player personnel Chet Kammerer observed Oden in a workout last week in his hometown of Indianapolis.

“If we get Greg Oden, I think we will win a third (straight) title,” Heat scout Tim Hardaway said in an interview with FOX Sports Florida on Saturday.

One would think that this is precisely the type of pressure situation that Oden wishes to avoid in his NBA return, which appears more and more likely to take place next season.

The reality is that no one knows what Oden will be able to give to a franchise, and that’s especially true when considering his contributions for a team in the playoffs a good nine months from now.

All we know at this moment is that Oden appears to be healthy and in relatively good shape. And until we see him face off against other NBA players in games that actually matter, all judgments need to be reserved, and should probably be kept completely silent.

  1. rickyspanish - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:08 AM

    I love me some Miami Heat but it’s going to be even tougher this time around. Going through the Nets, Chicago and Indiana ain’t gonna be easy and if they make it to the finals, they got Houston, Clippers or the Thunder to worry about. This is going to be a fun year of hoops y’all!

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:27 AM

      Let’s worry about that later. There’s been an entire days worth of 2013 Heat Playoff games on NBA TV today. What a ride!

      Meanwhile, Timmy. Riley might want you to pipe down just a bit on this Oden thing. Nothing to gain by the world knowing exactly what you’re thinking right now, you know?

      Or… think Oden is done as a player and you’re bluffing other teams into offering him more $ than he’s worth. If this is the case, you’re a genius. But Im guessing this isn’t the case.

    • adamsjohn714 - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:41 AM

      I think it’s pretty simple. The Heat are the team to beat in the East, and if they acquire Oden (and he’s healthy), they have a very good center on the court for 30 minutes a night (they like to play small for some reason). He vastly improves their rotation, and he counteracts the only major disadvantage they had in the playoffs (hibbert).

      • legend30 - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:10 AM

        What the Heat lack in rebounds they make it up by creating a lot of turnovers. That’s one of the reasons why they love to play small ball. They don’t have a traditional center, so this is the part when Erik Spolestra should get some credit. I understand he has James, Wade, and Bosh. But he has become a tremendous coach, and he learned a lot from losing to the Mavericks in the finals.

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:25 AM

        Where Oden lands, they better not play him 30 min’s a night average…

        I wish nothing but the best for this kid as what’s happened to him isn’t from a lack of trying and effort. Many pro’s in all sports don’t put in the time they should. Of course the majority do, but not all.

        This kid’s body simply hasn’t cooperated. It wasn’t him not trying or wanting to contribute.

        But, after his history of troubles, including 3 knee microfracture surgeries, no team should be playing him 30 min’s a night.

        Timmy, you like many other players were given a position within the organization due to what you did for them. But saying things like this show you won’t be moving up the organizational ladder anytime soon…

      • adamsjohn714 - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:29 AM

        Small ball is just a dumb strategy. The reason it works for the Heat is because the strategy is actually, “having lebron james on your team.” Their lineup was fantastic when james had chris andersen “clogging the paint” and 3 shooters on the wings.

      • abchome - Jul 29, 2013 at 5:39 AM

        He’s not going to give 30 minutes a game. He averaged 22 minutes before he totally broke down.

      • kingwithringz - Jul 29, 2013 at 5:53 AM

        Smallball isn’t so dumb when you win back2back titles @ adamsjohn714

      • adamsjohn714 - Jul 29, 2013 at 6:13 AM

        No, its a dumb strategy. Whenever teams do it, they get worse. Just because the Heat get away with it because Lebron is so darn good and versatile does not legitimize it as a strategy that any nba team can use. George Karl loves small ball, and look where that got him. Avery Johnson tried small ball to counteract Don Nelson in the first round of the playoffs, and his 1 seed mavericks were bounced because they couldn’t grab a board (dampier, their best rebounder and overall big man, sad idly on the bench).

      • miamatt - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:46 AM

        @adamsjohn714: It’s hardly a dumb strategy when it fits your personnel and wins you championships. We saw Miami try to pigeonhole “true” centers in their lineup in 2010-2011, guys like Eric Dampier and Big Z, and that was a mistake. Playing the best players you have, regardless of position, makes a lot more sense.

        I agree with you that IF Miami had a legit center to go to, they would do so more often. Now, 30 minutes a night with Oden? Only in my wildest dreams. But Oden and Birdman playing a combined 30 minutes I could see.

        In any case, to say “smallball is a dumb strategy” as though Miami won in spite of that approach is asinine. Is it a dumb strategy for some teams? Sure it is. But for the Heat? How could they have done better? You also bring up the LBJ + Birdman lineups as though that was the Heat playing “Big”. Small-ball rarely implies no big man, it just limits it to one and he may be undersized for a center (Bird only looks 7 ft after you’ve watched Joel Anthony for a while). LBJ, Bird, + 3 shooters is small-ball defined. And for my money it looks more and more like a shooter’s league every day.

      • palerider2x - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:02 PM

        I think you guys miss understood adamsjohn714. I don’t think he’s knocking the small ball play with Miami, heck it worked. But what he’s saying is it only worked because they had Lebron James, D. Wade, Ray Allen and some other great 3 point players. But especial L James. I mean, can you see any other teams going through the playoff and finals with a small lineup like that? They would get killed. It only worked because we have some exceptional players. But I think teams are building their teams to counter that, and they were very, very close this last year. Miami need to adjust too, if they want to win another ring. That why Hardaway said that, because they really need a Big Center to counter these up and coming teams. They are getting better, Miami needs to get better too, of they are going to lose.

      • tre747 - Jul 29, 2013 at 4:48 PM

        Had to get in on small ball convo. Small ball is a risky strategy but the Heat don’t really employ that. Spo calls it positionless. It’s a design to where your team can switch players on defense and not be vulnerable at any spot. Small ball is an offensive scheme design to out quick, out shoot & out score another team. IMO, Miami’s scheme could be much better with 1 or 2 good rebounders & a PG that can push & finish. Good small ball teams score 110-120 pts. Miami is in good shape at about 98-105 pts. Also, someone posted that Miami makes up for the lack rebounds w/ turnovers; not true. The Heat was ranked 26th in the league in the number of possessions, they gave up a lot offensive rebounds. Miami has the best defense IF they can rebound better, which in turn would trigger more fast breaks which is where they are THE best.

  2. gotampabay52 - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:23 AM

    Ok simple he sits out the first go arounds then he plays

  3. htownred34 - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:31 AM

    Any team that signs him though should play him the way the heat played mike miller. Rest him throughout the season and when it’s playoff time he’s 100%…

    • program33 - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:14 AM

      Agreed. My thoughts exactly.

    • biasedhomer - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:05 AM

      But don’t you need to see what Oden brings to the table? We all knew Miller is a shooter.
      What exactly is Oden? He hasn’t been in the league for 3 years. It could end up that he is just wasting a roster spot.

      • miamatt - Jul 29, 2013 at 7:06 PM

        I think you misinterpret the way Miller was used last year. He did average 15 minutes a game, playing in 59 regular season games, with 17 starts.

        To me, that is the ideal plan for somebody like Greg Oden.

        Early in the season, Miller was a fixture of the rotation. Once it was clear that he was healthy and had gotten some run, Spoelstra put him on the shelf for a while. Late in the season, Miller once again began to get regular minutes, made some starts, and showed that it would be tough to leave him on the bench in the postseason.

    • palerider2x - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:21 AM

      But it’s a lot easier to bring in a player like M Miller, who is a specialty player, he basically shoots from the outside, 3’s or close, and opens up the inside and middle for LeBron and Bosh, and maybe Wade. Not much there to mess with the overall team chemistry. But you can’t, in my opinion, bring in a Center, that the team basically feed’s off of on offense, and is key to the offensive sets, if he hasn’t played for months, or even weeks. He needs to develop team chemistry. It takes time, and that chemistry gets lost when he’s away for extended periods of time. I mean, I’m not a coach, I’m just trying to reason how that could be managed.

    • palerider2x - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      But it’s a lot easier to bring in a player like M Miller, who is a specialty player, he basically shoots from the outside, 3′s or close, and opens up the inside and middle for LeBron and Bosh, and maybe Wade. Not much there to mess with the overall team chemistry. But you can’t, in my opinion, bring in a Center, that the team basically feed’s off of on offense, and is key to the offensive sets, if he hasn’t played for months, or even weeks. He needs to develop team chemistry. It takes time, and that chemistry gets lost when he’s away for extended periods of time. I mean, I’m not a coach, I’m just trying to reason how that could be managed.

  4. legend30 - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:50 AM

    Can you imagine if Oden get’s a ring before, Durant.

    • adamsjohn714 - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:57 AM

      Haha that’s an interesting thought. Durant has a pretty good shot if he undercuts Perkins’ knee at practice.

    • shanydawg - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:36 AM

      norris cole got a ring before durant!

      • addictedzone - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:50 PM


    • palerider2x - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:03 PM

      I’m a Heat fan, but having said that, I do feel kind of sorry for Durant. I mean, he is a very good player, and he’s not a jerk like some pro athletes can be. In fact, he’s kink of likable, I love those commercial’s he’s in. It is just bad timing for him, coming into his game at the same time a Lebron. But he has handled it with class, and I do hope eventually he gets his, (just not at the expense of the Heat). I used to think that way of Derrick Rose, and I may again. But those stupid comments he’s been spewing lately have kind of turned me off. Of course, as a Heat fan, I still hate Chicago, and the Pacers (even though I was born near Indianapolis), but I still respect and admire certain players, especially if they aren’t plain all out Jerks.

  5. seanb20124 - Jul 29, 2013 at 7:25 AM

    Thought I would never see Hardaway working in the NBA again after his controversial comments a couple years ago

  6. 1972wasalongtimeago - Jul 29, 2013 at 7:54 AM

    So I’m watching Game 6 last night (yes, I know), and Ray hits “The Big Three'” (it’ll always make me smile). You remember that Duncan was famously on the bench when “The Big Three” goes in, right? So the Spurs have no timeouts, but the refs stop the game to review the shot to make sure it was a 3 (I seriously was having a heart attack during those moments back on 6/18).

    So despite the pause in the game, the teams weren’t allowed to sub players in because it wasn’t a timeout. But there was Tim Duncan inbound-ing the ball. Should have been a technical foul and Ray Allen should have been shooting a FT with 5 seconds left.

    Let’s just say, thank the Sports Gods-Almighty that the Heat wound up winning, but that 5 minute OT nearly killed two fan bases ( Heat fans, and everyone else) due to stress related conditions.

    Oh, and Ginobili took about 4 steps before he got ” no-called”.

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Jul 29, 2013 at 8:41 AM

      And also, we’re really going to miss Mike Miller next June. Guy makes plays that have to be made.

      • palerider2x - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:03 AM

        I really like Mike M., and your right I’m going to miss him. But man, I can’t see him lasting to many more years. I mean I would cringe just going up and down the court, as he seemed to be in such back pain. I do credit him with playing past the pain, but I wonder if he is still going to give it the effort required to play that way now that he already has a ring? (especially if he doesn’t need the money. But maybe he does, that can be a great motivator). Any way, hope he does well whatever he is doing.

      • miamatt - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:54 AM

        Yes we will…

        If, in a hypothetical future, the 2014 Finals is Miami-Memphis, my concerns would be as follows:

        1) The size of the Memphis front line, one that features a scorer (Z-Bo) and a deft passer (Gasol), both of whom can hit the boards.

        2) Mike Miller, who doesn’t have to be open (or anywhere near the basket) to get hot.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Jul 29, 2013 at 5:00 PM

        Not about seasons and it’s not even about full games when it comes to Mike Miller. It’s moments. One moment, per game, next June. That the moment when you need a loose ball. When you need a rebound. When you need a three, even if you’re in you socks.

        If we’ve learned anything since 2010, it takes more than the best player who ever lived going 37-10-8 to win the championship. Chances are the other team has a superstar (or two) too. It takes making just one or two more little plays than the other team. And guys like Wade, Bosh, Allen, Haslem, Good Mario are those types of guys. But Mike Miller is absolutely THAT kind of guy. Don’t know if James Jones and Rashard Lewis are.

    • nflcrimerankingscom - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:09 AM

      game outcomes are probabilistic in nature (that’s what makes them great) generally weighted toward the better team. In the case of that series, both teams probably had ~ 50% chance to win. They were essentially equal – but there’s not trophy for second best!

      • borderline1988 - Jul 29, 2013 at 6:28 PM

        The Heat are perhaps the best team in the league at closing out 3pt shooters and forcing them to put the ball on the floor. Plays get hectic, and the Heat love to force turnovers that way (the first 4 games of the Finals notwithstanding).

        On the other hand, in slower, half court sets where the opposing PF or Centre can get the ball where he wants to in the post, the Heat are an average defensive team, b/c they can’t defend post players one on one, and aren’t great at rebounding.

        Which is why the Heat need not worry about Mike Miller. He can hit 3s, but the Heat will force him to put the ball on the floor. And he will be absolutely torched on defense.

        That’s why Danny Green is so valuable…of course he can shoot, but he can also adequately defend Dwayne Wade, and doesn’t turn the ball over. You can play him 40 minutes a game any day…Mike Miller, not so much.

        Remember when Miller started? He was terrible.

    • biasedhomer - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:26 AM

      If you want to start the “refs missed all these calls” whining, start with the Heat.

      The Heat won, stop trying to act like a sore winner.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:00 PM

        Neither “whining” nor complaining. Just saying.

        But if you watch those games replayed on NBA TV, and you listen to JVGs commentary (Breen too), every single freaking play was either an uncalled foul on the Heat or a bad call against the Spurs. It’s unbelievable. But in the Spurs uncalled, illegal-sub situation; which was an objective and indisputable technical foul, neither JVG nor Breen even came close to mentioning it either at the time or during OT. To be fair to those guys however, the refs, the Heat, me, you, and everybody else didn’t notice it either.

    • miamatt - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      Miami walks upon the razor’s edge… and lives.

  7. rhetoric1 - Jul 29, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    The Heat realistically only need Oden against four teams – Houston, Bulls, Pacers, and maybe Nets. More than anyone, against the Hibbert and the Pacers who have had an unbelievable offseason. At max, they’ll play two of the east teams, hopefully only one, on their way to the finals. Having said that, were Oden to sign, Heat should just keep him in their back pocket until it’s time to set him loose on Hibbert. At this point, Hibbert is obviously the better player, but it’ll give him someone his own size to bang against.

    • adamsjohn714 - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:19 AM

      The Pacers certainly haven’t had an “unbelievable offseason.” I’d say it’s been a wash, perhaps a bit of a downgrade. They kept their starting 5 intact, which was smart. However, they (essentially) turned hansbrough and green into scola and granger. A major upgrade for paul george’s backup, but a downgrade for west’s backup. So their large advantage of inside play was diminished somewhat. Plus it’s not like scola will get better with time. He’s on a sharp decline.

      • rhetoric1 - Jul 29, 2013 at 5:15 PM

        I fail to see how the Pacers’ offseason moves are a wash, much less a downgrade. They’ve replaced Hansborougho’s 7 ppg / 4.7 rpg with Scolas’s ‘washed up’ 12.8 ppg / 6.6 rpg, Augustin’s 4.7 ppg / 2.2 apg with Watson’s 6.8 ppg / 2 apg and then went on to add Chris Copeland’s 8.7 ppg and 2.1 rpg. Sure, Scola isn’t a defensive presence, but he’s also not a fumbling buffoon Tyler was and he can actually score a bit. With Granger back, Stevenson, who grew leaps and bounds, moves to the bench. Suddenly, their bench is deep and can put some points up – exactly what they couldn’t do last year. I don’t know in what planet this is a wash or downgrade.

      • adamsjohn714 - Jul 30, 2013 at 4:56 AM

        Looking at per game averages is really unintelligent, especially when a player is traded, as predicting minutes in the upcoming season is quite difficult. That being said, you should turn to per 48 minute stats to make your point, and perhaps examine something a bit more intuitive than POINTS!!! YAY!! POINTS!!! Hansbrough scores 1.4 points per fga, scola 1.15 (1.21 is average). This is because Hansbrough gets to the FT line twice as often, making him much more efficient and a better offensive player. But, by all means, go ahead and live in your world with infinite possessions during each game.

    • palerider2x - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:03 PM

      I’d say a ‘wash’ still makes them plenty dangerous. If they are still on the same level as last year, it is not a certainty that the Heat prevail again in the playoffs. I mean they are that good. I know, the Heat are good too, but a big center like Oden would be huge, if he can stay healthy. (I know, a big if, but who else is out there?)

    • palerider2x - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      I kind of agree, except that they can’t just keep him in the back pocket until they play one of these teams, or it the finals. Team chemistry is a very important piece of the overall picture. And I just don’t see how they can have that type of chemistry if they don’t play him on a regular basis. It seems it would be kind of hard to gel. But I guess we should wait and see if they get him or not. I do think it would make it a lot easier to beat the top tier teams with a big presence at center, esp. as you said, against the pacers. They are good, as are Chicago, and the Net’s are looking pretty good too. I’m not even getting into the other conference, since we really don’t have to worry about them right away. But rest assured, the other top teams are gunning for the Heat, they don’t like them, and they sure don’t like getting beat by them every year lately. It’s going to be WAR! Last season’s playoffs were the BEST I have ever witnessed. At least in my opinion. And it looks to get even better this coming year. GO HEAT!!

      • borderline1988 - Jul 29, 2013 at 6:43 PM

        I love the way the Pacers play, and even with Rose back and the Nets offseason moves, I still think they are the number 2 seed on the East.

        That being said, I really wonder if Danny Granger will screw up their chemistry. Paul George needs even more touches as he develops in a legit star, and you need to keep those skilled bigs in the game. Except now they throw in Danny Granger, who’s always been a bit of a ball-movement stopper (and not a terribly efficient one either). He replaces Stephenson, a guy who brings great energy and defense, and didn’t need the ball to make impact plays.

  8. shanydawg - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    I love how it seems that EVERY columnist states “this is the pressure situation that Oden want’s to avoid”… has anyone actually seen or heard Oden or anyone in his camp SAY that? It’s like Fox News… 1 writer just has to say it once, and everyone else runs with it. Oden is an athlete – a competitor. He’s been rehabbing for 4 years… OF COURSE he wants that situation. And if he didn’t, the Heat or the Spurs would not even be considering him.

    • palerider2x - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:48 AM

      I took that as him being cautious about rushing back to form and getting injured again, not in his ability to play at a high level. I’m sure he has confidence in himself, when healthy, but with is history, he would have to be worried that he may not last an entire season. Just my thoughts, I could be wrong.

    • palerider2x - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      I took that as him being cautious about rushing back to form and getting injured again, not in his ability to play at a high level. I’m sure he has confidence in himself, when healthy, but with is history, he would have to be worried that he may not last an entire season. Just my thoughts, I could be wrong.

    • bcwildcat24 - Jul 29, 2013 at 1:57 PM

      Calling Fox News is an insult to news organizations everywhere haha.

  9. BigBeachBall - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    The other franchises should concede and back out of the oden story so Miami can complete the comeback.

  10. senorpapino - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    If Miami wins a 3rd straight title, it will have nothing to do with Greg Oden.

  11. bcwildcat24 - Jul 29, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    I honestly think this is a win-win for Miami to get Greg Oden. If he pans out, that’s an extra rim protector and you can maybe bring Bosh off the bench or start him at the 4. On the other hand, if Oden doesn’t pan out, Miami’s back where they started, which still worked out for them last year.

  12. antistratfordian - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    Miami will probably win three straight regardless. There aren’t any bigs in the league that Miami hasn’t already beaten, and in the East we’re talking about bigs who they’ve already beaten in multiple series (Hibbert, Noah, KG). Their system is proven.

    So the question isn’t about Miami… they’re set.

    In fact, the Pacers and Bulls could use Greg Oden more than the Heat. Take a peek at the Pacers production when Hibbert comes out of the game… they turn into the Bobcats. And the Bulls sorely miss Asik to the point where they’ve been reduced to using tiny Taj Gibson at center.

  13. zoomy123 - Jul 29, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    I don’t understand why people keep saying Greg Oden might not want pressure. There can ONLY be pressure if he knows he can’t play. Miami only needs him to do 3 things: 1) defend; 2) rebound; 3) dunk and make layups. That’s it! And he doesn’t even need to do this in the regular season because Miami already went 66-16 without him! If Oden can’t do any of the aforementioned things he shouldn’t even attempt a comeback.

    • borderline1988 - Jul 29, 2013 at 6:53 PM

      Remember what Shane Battier said about pressure?

      The only pressure in basketball is hitting free throws with the game on the line.

      NBA players do everything in rythym…when they’re going up to dunk or rising up for a jump shot after a dribble, they’re not thinking about pressure. They’re just doing the same movements they practiced thousands of times.

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